CHAPTER 5

The problem of producing such a powerful pulse was solved by the design and construction of very large Multigigawatt Magnetrons and new power pulse thyratrons. Closely modelled after Poulsen Arc switches, and forming the heart of many superhigh power RADAR systems, Gammatrons and other such high power thyratron tubes flood the literature. Having greater effectiveness and further effective range, these highpower rapid pulse RADAR beams were given a greater than line-of-sight reach to a potential target zone. The concept of producing active ionizing paths in the atmosphere had become more than a working hypothesis. The conditions had been achieved early in the Century by several individuals. In each of these early demonstrations, methods perfected before 195, a conductive path was produced in the air by intensely collimated beams of hard ultraviolet light Producing a preliminary ionized path in the atmosphere, enormous bursts of high voltage current were then applied directly into this conductive path. Only capable of projecting several hundred feet from the power source, these systems scarcely delivered sufficient penetrating energy to achieve their claimed objectives: the destruction of airplane engines, explosion of aerial bombs, and the shearing open of airships. These effects were subject to atmospheric variables and other hazardous problems associated with deadly arc effects.

H. Grindell-Matthews (1917) used combination of intense UV and X-ray beams to establish a conductive aerial path, a weakly ionized path in the air. His device interfered with airplane engines, causing furtive piston misfire, and munitions eruptions. J. Hettinger used the intense UV from tightly focussed carbon arcs to produce a transmission system for borough wide power distribution. Hettinger also utilized these conductive UV beacons and high voltage pulsations to create nonmaterial aerials of great vertical extent Made of ionized air, he synthetically produced “ionized atmospheric aerials”. The total length of the conductive channel permitted signalling capabilities, intensified and stabilized by focussed light and applied electrical alternations. Both individuals patented their designs, although those of Grindell-Matthews remain curiously classified until today.

Later, university researchers succeeded in producing small snapping plasma “points” in across-the-room laboratory demonstrations; the application of focussed RADAR pulses being coupled with focussed ultraviolet light beams. Though achieved with difficulty, the demonstration proved feasible the central notion. An artificially aerial plasma discharge would resist the RADAR source beacon enough to absorb energy from it Once substantially absorptive, the plasma would focus dielectric lines. Ultraviolet light was available in great quantities in high altitudes. This energetic presence would add to the plasma formative process. The concept that EMP productive RADAR could be reflected from the sky to a distant point began to gather much support. The RADAR application of troposcatter and ionoscatter techniques seemed a simple conclusion. EMP effects would literally be drawn over intended target areas, wreaking havoc with both electrical and electronic systems. These would necessarily be target zones limited by the line-of sight Though limited in this parameter, these systems could serve in guarding borders and coastlands. Clearly, the reach of any RADAR beam system becomes its chief advantage in such an application. Any means found to effectively increase this range, beyond the line-of-sight limits, would effectively release the system to work its application beyond the “horizon limit”. Recalling the fact that Projects ARGUS and STARFISH demonstrated just this very phenomenon, liberated research from its limited consideration, to a major military focus of interest. Ionospheric EMP would require a detailed knowledge of both geoelectric and geomagnetic field natures. It was the combine fields which seemed to glide EMP effects in ARGUS along geomagnetic lines, throughout given world sectors. One could strike terror into distant enemy forces from a local ground station.

Rapidly pulsed RADAR beams of sufficient strength could be aimed into a specific ionospheric layer, producing an instantaneous plasma burst which would glide of its own accord along the geomagnetic sector. This would not secure pinpoint accuracy, but would effect EMP all along any given sector. Terrestrial dielectricity would provide the power. One could theoretically “guide and glide” disruptive EMP energies toward any ground point from a high density plasma layer. The efficiency of each RADAR burst would be determined by charge density and stability. Using the thrust of the natural geomagnetic field, one could theoretically extend the “reach” of EMP effects over the literal horizon. With this capability, the controlled, nonnuclear EMP method might find its liberation from the normally fixed sweep perimeter. The development of super powerful RADAR systems commenced. With such powerful beams, pointed directly into the zenith, highly localized ionization states should be produced. RADAR engineers were now directed to develop a means for beaming RADAR energy bursts of very great intensity directly into the ionosphere. The possibilities of “zone limited” battles greatly appealed to military hierarchy. This regime of research attracted a tremendous military response, the obvious employment of the method would represent controllable EMP and communications blackout techniques. Controlled EMP conditions could be assigned to any quadrant or sector of the geomagnetic field. Placed near the poles, and with properly directed RADAR beams, one could sweep across the polar sky, the controlled EMP effects being assigned on a worldwide basis if needed. One could literally spray the ionosphere with RADAR energy, predetermining the length of time for the EMP. Small additional impulses could prolong the effects for as long a time as desired. Control was therefore acquired over potential EMP and communications blackout effects.

CLOUDS

Precise ionosphere-destabilizing methods, by which the simple flick of a switch could effectively disrupt radio communications with great accuracy, demanded testing. Experimental tests to determine the relative worth of these schemes commenced in 1963. Controlled from ground-based stations, beam projectors attempted the modulation of ionospheric states through the application of momentary and sustained blasts of RADAR energy. These initial tests were performed at various launch angles, producing EMP phenomena beneath the aerial plasma focus. The more prominent effects were the radio blackouts. Energies of specific frequency were found especially effective in targeting specific ionospheric layers. The EMP effect were made to spread along the geomagnetic meridians north and south along the field, but needed great power to do so. Beamed electrical inductions wee best applied to the ionosphere when aligned with the geomagnetic field. In this manner the super-high frequency alternations, beamed from the ground base, would form successive “clustres” in the plasma. These progressive pulsation propagated as a communications disturbance which flowed effordessly along the geomagnetic lines. Control of the projected beam aperture could effect a weak degree of precision in the subsequent meridian path and width of the EMP. The natural sidethrusts, the result of gradually divergent geomagnetic field lines, tended to “smear” the effect out into an ever widening arc. Unless the applied power was excessive therefore, only a blackout effect would be launched.